Confession: In high school I had a few mishaps and run-ins with authority. I specifically recall the time I got busted for TP-ing by the local police. I wasn’t caught red handed but they had a hunch that it was me and my friends. I was instructed to report to the police station immediately to sort everything out.
In my mind I was going to juvenile hall, jail, or the work-house. My life was over. No college for me. Who would accept a student with a criminal past? There were no cell phones back then and I couldn’t get ahold of my mom. But I was able to reach my grandmother.
I sobbed as I relayed the torrid details. I begged her to come to my house and go with me to the police station. In my sixteen-year-old mind TP-ing was likely as big an offense as say, murder, or robbing a bank, or grand theft auto. I didn’t know. But I figured I shouldn’t be going to the station alone lest they lock me up and throw away the key for good.
She listened to the details, told me to calm down and said she’d be right over.
I fretted and paced while the enormity of the situation grew and weighed on me. It took a whole 20 minutes for her to get to my house and I was beyond relieved when that big brown sedan pulled into my driveway. I will never forget looking out my kitchen window and seeing her march purposefully across the driveway. Her lips were pursed. Her look was determined. She was going to fight for me. And she was carrying … a plate of cookies.
I remember wondering, “Who would worry about bringing cookies at a time like this?!”
Well, my grandma would.
Grandma Rose was a strong, no-nonsense country woman who wasn’t afraid to tell it like it is. But she had a soft heart and quick laugh and a spirit of compassion that knew no bounds. I can’t tell you how many times she’d march out the door with her casserole dish, lips pursed like she was ready to do battle. And if you asked her where she was going she’d mutter something about someone who was sick or sad or struggling. There was always a look of fierce determination. No one was going to struggle alone. Not on her watch. And not without some comfort food.
Grandma was part of a generation that made time for others. She knew a cup of coffee, a warm meal and a listening ear went a long ways when someone was feeling down. She wasn’t part of the meals ministry or prayer team or care group at church. She just made bringing meals, praying for, and caring for others part of her everyday life.
Grandma understood that a simple act of providing a meal (or some cookies to a terrified teenager) was balm to the soul. Driving to visit with someone who needed to talk took precedence over anything she had on her agenda. Its not that she wasn’t busy. But she was never too busy to love people.
Lately I have felt a yearning towards these simple ways people can support one another. In our fast paced, highly scheduled, and maxed out lives its hard to find time to breathe let alone extend a hand to someone else. And its hard to ask for help when we are drowning. But I wonder what it would look like if more of us did.
We are called to bear each other’s burdens. We are called to laugh together and cry together and bring each other casseroles. But we have become so busy that we are lonely and isolated. We are doing this to ourselves.
Its not how we were created to be.
We were created to be in community. But we’re settling for for activity.
We were created for real relationships. But we’re settling for cyber friendship.
We were created for conversation. But we’re settling for text messages.
And it’s taking its toll on our souls.
Lets get back to the basics. Lets have coffee, laugh over a meal, and pray for each other. Lets let Grandma’s example remind us that caring for each other doesn’t have to be fancy. It just has to be timely.
Oh, and for those of you wondering, I didn’t go to jail. Those scary police officers made me pen a letter of apology. That was it. All that drama for nothing. But I got some of grandma’s cookies out of the deal. And a lecture. And lots of her love.